Senator Edward Kennedy, who died last night, will always be remembered for a political career — forty-six years in the U.S. Senate — that was not only impressive and filled with many high points, but one that outlasted those of his older brothers John and Robert.  Senator Kennedy’s political career is part of not only his own legacy, but also that of his family, whose achievements made an impact on American history in the 20th Century — and so much more.
   Granted, Senator Kennedy wasn’t perfect — we’re already aware of the low points in his life — but then, you can probably say the same thing about every public figure throughout recorded history.  But even Kennedy’s mistakes remind us that we’re only human — and the character flaws that we possess are part of us, to remind us that we’re not perfect, even though we continue to thrive on achieving perfection in every field.  If anything else, realizing such flaws should always reinforce the fact that we should never take even our most revered figures — even those working in politics — for granted, even though we tend to frequently forget that same fact.
   Flaws and faults aside, Senator Kennedy has already earned his place in American history, just like his brothers John and Robert — by putting the needs of the general public first and foremost, as evidenced by a great deal of the bills and laws that he helped vote into existence, including the Civil Rights Act which insured equal rights for African-Americans and other minorities.  Does that make him a hero?  It does, if it helps to improve the lives of countless generations of Americans, even those who were too young to remember Kennedy’s first years in the U.S. Senate.
   Senator Kennedy also became a hero of sorts, showing love and concern for not only his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but also those of his siblings (including JFK and RFK, after they were murdered), which wasn’t easy, as we now know.  Of course, parenthood’s never an easy thing — and it becomes more harder when you also have to contend with both a professional career and the public image that goes with it, a fact that Senator Kennedy probably realized later on in life, just like many public figures who are also parents.  Did that make Senator Kennedy a better — and wiser man?  Well, that depends on one perspective’s — even more so if you were lucky enough to know him personally.  Personally, I think that Senator Kennedy succeeded as a parent in many respects — he wasn’t perfect, but that’s probably one reason why he appealed to several generations of Americans, and why it’ll remain so long after the fact.
   Edward Kennedy was many things to not only those who knew him best, but also the American public — and when all’s said and done, his political legacy and personal triumphs will outlast even the ugliest moments that were part of his life.  That’s the way it should be — and that’s the way it’ll always be.
John Lavernoich

About johnlav

I've written five published novels -- including the first two in the CHAMELEONS, INC. book series -- as well as various non-fiction articles and short stories that have been published in both print and on the Internet.
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